Monday 20 November 2023

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 7 now available in paperback and kindle eBook

We are pleased to announce that our latest anthology Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 7 is now available to order as either a paperback or kindle eBook. It's our biggest volume so far at 353 pages.

The stories and authors included are:

PITILESS by Stephen Frame
UNHALLOWED TOMBS by Paul Batteiger
WISPS by Jason M Waltz
PROHAIRESIS by Jon Zaremba
BLADES FOR A BOUNTY by Harry Elliott

The artwork, as always, is by Jim Pitts.



Thursday 19 October 2023

Great new review for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 6 on Amazon

Thank you to Richard Fisher for this great, detailed review of Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 6 on Amazon. 

"Like a freight train Parallel Universe Publications continues to come down the line filled with S&S stories from authors new and old..."

"I eagerly look forward to Volume Seven which should be out sometime later this year."

For the full review click on this link:

Monday 16 October 2023

The Best of Lovecraftiana

My copy of The Best of Lovecraftiana, published by Rogue Planet Press and edited by Gavin Chappell, arrived today. My story The Psychic Investigator appears in it.  

This is available from for £7.40 in paperback or as a kindle ebook. 

Below as a sample of my story are the opening paragraphs:

Greg Conroy sat as comfortably as he could in the sound studio at Radio Lancashire, hoping to look relaxed. It was a small room, but well equipped. Gillian Butterworth, who would be interviewing him, was already there. She smiled encouragingly.

“We’ll do a sound test first, then start.”

He’d been told the interview would last fifteen minutes and be aired tomorrow on the afternoon show. It wasn’t his first time here, of course, though that didn’t make him feel any easier. He shuffled on his chair, wishing he had not put a cardigan on beneath his jacket. Even though it was a cold September day outside he was already feeling hot inside the studio. Luckily, as it was radio, no one would see the sweat on his face – other than Gillian.

“So, what was it, Greg, made you want to become a ghost hunter?” Gillian said as soon as recording began.

Greg shook his head, before remembering no one other than Gillian would see him do this. “I prefer psychic investigator, Gillian,” he added quickly. “Ghosts are only one of many phenomena I hope to come across.” He settled on his chair, starting to feel at ease with this familiar question. “It was coming across a book by the late Colin Wilson sparked things off. It was an account of paranormal activity in a house in Pontefract – what was to become known as the Pontefract Poltergeist. I read this book umpteen times in my teens. I was fascinated by it. It was this made me want to carry out investigations of my own.”

“You were involved with the TV series, Hauntings. That didn’t end well, did it? What went wrong?"

“I’m a serious investigator, Gillian.” Greg leaned forward, feeling his pulse begin to quicken as his agitation at what went on with the producers of Hauntings came back to him. “I have no time for fake clairvoyants who make ridiculous claims about evil spirits the minute they step inside a building, especially where nothing, not even remotely bad took place – or become possessed by hostile spirits at the drop of a hat. They make a mockery of everything I have tried to do. As for crew members who scream in panic at the slightest noise! It became obvious to me my reputation would be in tatters if I stayed with that show – so I quit.”

“You place a great deal of importance on your reputation for scepticism, Greg?”

“I approach every investigation with what I like to call open-minded scepticism. Yes, it takes a lot to convince me that something is genuine. Only facts impress me. Which is as it should be if you are a serious investigator, not a showman out to impress the gullible.”

“What is going to be your next investigation?”

“I’ve been invited to Edgebottom. There’s an area of the town I’ve been told should be worth looking into for strange phenomena. Grudge End.”

Gillian looked up from her notes. For a moment Greg was sure he saw concern cross her face before professionalism took over and she moved on to the next question.


Saturday 14 October 2023

Lucilla - a novella is now available in paperback


Lucilla - a novella is now available in paperback, priced at £5.50. It is already available in hardcover and as a kindle e-book.

"It was just another standard day at the Women’s Refuge until the arrival of Lucilla. Then Miranda’s world was never the same again.
Unaccountably influenced by what the girl needed, her job, her friendships, even freedom itself were of no importance. It was not until her niece’s life was at risk that Miranda knew she had to act.
But what could she do against someone who had such a tight, insidious grip on her?"

Friday 13 October 2023

The Best of Lovecraftiana


Very pleased to be included in The Best of Lovecraftiana with the last of my Grudge End tales The Psychic Investigator

Also included are tales and illustrations by: Josh Maybrook, Carlton Herzog, David B Harrington, Lee Clark Zumpe, Joan d'Arc, Glynn Owen Barrass, Tim Mendees, TS S Fulk, Renee Mulhare, GO Clark, Mike T Lyddon, Gav Roachdown, Dean Wirth, Jim Pitts, Toe Keen, and Justell Vonk.

It is available as a paperback priced at £7.30 and as an ebook at £2.43.


Monday 2 October 2023

Lucilla - a novella reviewed on the Vault of Evil

The first review of my novella Lucilla is available to read online on the website The Vault of Evil

"At 90 medium print pages, Lucilla is equivalent to a slimline 'seventies NEL, and moves like one, too."

amazon UK £13.99 in hardcover/£2.99 in kindle $17.85 in hardcover/$3.70 in kindle


Saturday 30 September 2023

Book review: Ramsey Campbell, Certainly edited by S. T. Joshi



Edited by S. T. Joshi

Published by Drugstore Indian Press, an imprint of PS Publishing Ltd 2021

Over the years Ramsey Campbell has written knowledgeably, often humorously, but always with sincerity on a range of subjects from other authors, artists, films, books and, quite honestly, about anything and everything to do with weird literature and beyond.

This book includes those written over a fifteen-year period from 2002 till 2017. I was pleased to see it included the article I commissioned for The Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts which I published in 2017 under my Parallel Universe Publications imprint.

Included in this collection of articles and essays are reminiscences of many important genre people. One is about the American literary agent Kirby McCauley who was partly responsible for creating and organising the first World Fantasy Convention and its awards. Though I never met him, he did provide me with my first American sale (to issue one of Whispers magazine). This had a double benefit for me as, when Whispers won a World Fantasy Award that year my story from issue four was included in the hardcover book produced to commemorate the event, edited by Gahan Wilson, who designed the famous award caricaturing Lovecraft’s head. Other reminiscences include such legendary figures as Fritz Leiber, Nigel Kneale, Manly Wade Wellman and Richard Matheson, as well as contemporary writers too, such as David Case, Gary Fry, Mark Samuels, Thana Niveau, Joe Hill and Joe R. Lansdale amongst quite a few others.

Campbell will always be associated with H. P. Lovecraft and there are five articles about the master himself: ‘Lovecraft Analysed’, ‘Lovecraft in Retrospect, in Retrospect’, ‘Influences’, ‘He Was Providence’, ‘Glimpses in the Dark’, and ‘Lovecraft’s Monster’, all of them brimming with insights. 

As anyone who follows Campbell on Facebook will know, over the years he often catches the attention of any number of cranks, trolls, and other miscreants that prowl the internet, though woe on those who mislead themselves into thinking they can get the better. Nor is he adverse to taking on those he believes have taken a step too far in attacking writers whose work he admires. Here we have two articles, ‘Plagued by Plagiarism parts 1 and 2’, in which he takes to task his old adversary Chris Barker over accusations against M. R. James in a booklet titled ‘Plagiarism and Pederasty: Skeletons in the Jamesian Closet’. Campbell is succinctly impressive in the way in which he playfully yet factually debunks Barker’s ill-informed contentions, which give the impression he fired them off in a scattergun attempt to at least hit the target once. Thanks to Ramsey’s critique he fails completely. Both articles are not only critically observant but a joy to read.

There is, in fact, a great deal to enjoy in this book, which covers an entertainingly wide number of subjects. The good news, of course, is there’s a six year gap since the last article published in this book and now, so there must already be quite a few new ones for another book.




Book Review: The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie



Craig DiLouie

Published by Redhook. 384 pages. 2021

Available in paperback, kindle and audio.

Religious Doomsday cults are always fascinating – though God forbid anyone reading this review should ever be unlucky or foolish enough to join one. Sometimes, however, there isn’t a choice. especially if a child’s parents are drawn into one. That’s sheer bad luck.

As it is with “the children” of Red Peak, whose parents are attracted to what is at first an easy-going, almost paradisical cult intent on returning to a simpler life in a farming community of like-minded individuals, safe from the stresses of modern life.  

They have a hierarchy of elders – Shepherds – under the guidance of a Moses-like figure, the Reverend Peale, whose gentle understanding helps to temper the sometimes more hard-line attitudes of those under him. But it is this same leader who eventually turns the group onto a path that takes them to self-destruction, after he temporarily takes a leave of absence to go on a pilgrimage of personal enlightenment – and sees God.

It is this eye-opening event on the heights of Red Peak, an isolated mountain range some distance from where they live, that changes everything. When their leader returns he informs the group that God has told him the End Times are about to take place and they have been selected to be part of the elite that will ascend to Heaven when this happens. To be saved, though, they must abandon their pastoral paradise and journey with him to Red Peak, where he saw and spoke with God. There they will establish a new community to await their salvation.

All of this is told in retrospect through the four surviving children who decades later meet at the funeral of the only other child to have lived through the terrible final weeks of the cult. Unable to bear her memories of what happened any longer, the suicides, murders and self-mutilations that occurred that day, she has ended her life.  Which brings the suppressed memories of all the traumas the others suffered back to the surface, as well as questions they have struggled to deal with over the years: What really happened that day? Why did the loving, kind-hearted Reverend persuade their parents and everyone else to kill themselves – or to kill those who were unwilling to do it themselves? Was it really God the Reverend saw? If so, what kind of “God” was it?

Worse still, no amount of searching by the authorities had ever been able to find any trace of those who died, as if their bodies really did ascend to heaven, leaving a mystery behind that people still talk about with awe.

Now grown into adults, the survivors have built careers for themselves, though their choices appear in some ways not much more than desperate attempts to block from their minds what they glimpsed, suspected, or worried happened, unable to move from beneath the shadow of that awful event during which they not only lost their parents but most of their friends too. It is the violence of what took place that haunts them, as some of the parents murdered their own children to “save” them, and, during the days before the apocalypse, cult members tried to exculpate whatever sins they thought they had committed through acts of self-mutilation. One mother, who had become convinced she was too fond of talking, cut out her tongue, while another, because she was vain about her looks, savaged her own face. The compulsion to carry out bloody acts against themselves, is yet another trauma with which the survivors have had to deal.    

Their reunion at the funeral acts as a catalyst towards what happens next – because they know that whatever drew their parents to Red Peak is still there, if not in reality at least in their minds. Is it God? Does the mountain really hold a path towards heaven? Is there still time in which to seek their own redemption for everything that happened? Or to find out what really took place there – and why?

This is a fascinating tale, told from the viewpoints of the four survivors who decide their only hope to move on with their lives is to return to Red Peak to try and find answers to their questions. It is a decision that will awaken more than just memories, though, and their determination to clear up the horrors of the past, when their childhoods came to a hideous end, builds towards a chilling climax of what is a brilliantly visualised and illuminating tale.